Torah from Alexandria: Philo as a Biblical Commentator
Edited by Rabbi Michael Leo Samuel
Reviewed by Dr. Marvin R. Wilson
About two decades before the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, another Jew, Philo of Alexandria, was born and destined to become the most prolific writer of Hellenistic Judaism. Philo’s thought is primarily centered on Scripture and theology, yet his works have often remained, unknown, unread, inaccessible or obscure to many Jewish and Christian readers. Thankfully, in this modern commentary on Philo and the Torah, Rabbi Michael Samuel, himself a master of texts and their meaning, has provided a very readable, creative, scholarly work on Philo.
This commentary “cuts to the chase.” Torah from Alexandria helps clarify much of the mystery associated with Philo’s rambling, allegorical “airborne” style by conveying the thinking of Philo in a relevant, down-to-earth manner that both scholar and layperson can grasp and appreciate. Enhanced by an abundance of notes, cross references and indexes, this commentary on the Torah will prove a valuable companion for Torah studies and provide new insight and angles of theological conversation useful to Jews and Christians.
Philo is one of the great thinkers of the ancient world, he need no longer remain an enigma to biblical interpreters. I enthusiastically recommend Torah from Alexandria.